31.5.13

Dr. Linz

So, I met someone yesterday. Her name is Nora. She's two years younger than me. We met in the market. I saw her walking into the building as I was walking out. We made eye contact for a split second, and I got a chill down my neck. So I hung around outside and waited for her to come out, made myself totally visible, and waited to see if she introduced herself. She did.

"I saw you walking out. And. I don't know, I felt like I needed to say 'hi', so... Hi." She seemed to be having trouble making eye contact and kept rubbing the corner of her shirt in her hand.
"Hi. I'm Dahlia," I answered, "How are you?"
"Dahlia... I'm Nora. I'm okay. I just got here, I've been walking a while. Is there anywhere I can meet with a doctor?" She looked tired. Her hair was dirty, dusty, a little matted in places. Her skin was loose and she was rail thin.  She looked like she was starving.
"Nora, where did you come from? And what kind of doctor do you need exactly? You've got a worm, right?" I took a little step back, just in case.
"Worm? Yeah. It's still working, but it needs cleaned. I came from... I don't know. I came from my dad's house. I got out and ran and ran... I need someone to look at my leg. I fell when I was running, and I cut it. It hasn't healed yet. I'm getting worried. Is there a doctor anywhere?" She swayed a little and I worried that she might be about to faint.
"Honey, I'm a doctor. I can help you. Let me take you back to my place and I'll see what I can do about your worm and your leg. I can't touch you til we get there and I get you decontaminated, though. Just in case. Will you be able to walk about half a mile?"
"Yes, I can, I think."

I led her up to the house. Took her around back as quickly and quietly as possible so Gramma wouldn't see her. I gave her a clean outfit and we used the hose and alcohol soap to disinfect her before she got dressed. Afterwards, I looked at her leg. It wasn't healing. That was for sure. It also wasn't bleeding, though. I have never seen anything like it. I did some more basic tests, checked for little things like fever and brain damage and such. Basically gave her a little checkup. When we tried to test her eyesight, though, I found out that she can't read.
"Daddy never let me go to school. He was scared I'd get sick," She apologized when she couldn't name any letters I wrote and held up at the other side of the room.
"Don't worry about it. It's not a big deal right now. We can worry about that later," I said as I sat on the chair in front of the couch she was sitting on.
"So, I'm going to be okay, right?" She looked worried, although she seemed less dizzy now that she had some food and water in her.
"Well, I don't know what's wrong with your leg. It's not healing, it's still as raw as if you had just cut it today. You said you did it a few days ago, so it should either be oozing some white stuff, starting to mend itself into a scar or else it should be bloody and painful from being reopened. It's doing neither. It's like it's dead. You can feel it, right?" I asked.
"Yeah, it hurts. And, this will sound weird, but it's bigger than it was when it happened. It was just from here to here," she pointed from the middle of the abrasion down an inch. "Now it's almost three times as big. I've been very careful with it. Haven't touched it. But after the first day, it stopped bleeding and started to just hurt, deep into my flesh. Down to the bone. And now it just aches all the time."
"Well, I'm going to draw a little blood, and I'm going to look at it under a microscope and see if I can find anything that might help us figure this out. Is that okay?" I stood and walked to the sink and started washing my hands.
"Yeah, whatever you have to do," She said with a sigh.
I used some rubbing alcohol and a rubber tube and pulled out a little blood from the inside of her elbow. It wasn't easy, as the blood didn't seem to want to come out. It dripped very slowly down the tube. When I finally pulled the needle out, there was a little red dot where it had been. There wasn't even the usual bead of blood that comes out of the most anemic patient.
"Okay," I said. "Let's get you set up and ready for bed. I'll work on this blood in the morning."

I smiled as I left the building to find some blankets and pillows. She had mentioned during our walk to the house that she enjoyed drawing, so I dug around and found some old crayons and blank paper and asked her if she could draw me a picture if she got bored. She said she would.

Anyways, I just woke up, so I need to go out there and check on her and start working on her bloodwork. I think I'm going to make some biscuits for everyone's breakfast.

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